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Updated: June 27, 2024

Tri for a Cure co-founder to step down as race director after this year's event

Julie Marchese and Tri for a Cure athletes Photo / Courtesy Maine Cancer Foundation Julie Marchese, center, co-founder of Maine Cancer Foundation's annual Tri for a Cure fundraiser, will step down as race director after this year's triathlon.

Julie Marchese, co-founder and race director of Maine Cancer Foundation’s annual Tri for a Cure fundraiser, plans to step down as director after this year’s event but will remain involved in future ones.

The all-women triathlon, which Marchese helped launch in 2008 with Abby Bliss, has raised more than $22 million for Maine Cancer Foundation, making it Maine’s largest single-day fundraiser. 

“Over the years, Julie’s leadership, spirit and strength have been the backbone of the Tri. The idea to bring women together for this remarkable event now encompasses a community of survivors, athletes, families and dedicated volunteers,” said Laura Pfeiffenberger, president of Maine Cancer Foundation’s board of directors.

"Her generosity and commitment have provided so many wonderful women the opportunity to be a part of a unique, unrivaled experience,” she added. “Julie’s contributions to the Tri truly are immeasurable.”

Marchese's responsibilities be absorbed by Maine Cancer Foundation Events Manger Allison Richards as well as other staff members, according to a spokesman for the Falmouth-based nonprofit. 

'Forever grateful'

Every year, around 1,200 women swim, bike and run in the Tri, as cancer survivors or in memory or support of someone with cancer. All the money raised goes directly to Maine communities for prevention, early detection and access to care.

“Maine Cancer Foundation will be forever grateful that Julie raised her hand 17 years ago to lead this effort,” said Ray Ruby, Maine Cancer Foundation’s executive director. “Thousands of Mainers are living longer and healthier lives because of Julie’s vision for Tri for a Cure."

Reflecting on her experience, Marchese said, "It has been an honor and a privilege over the last 17 years to work with the most amazing team of sponsors, volunteers, vendors, athletes and of course my sisterhood of cancer survivors.”

While Marchese is giving up her race director role, she plans to stay involved as an advisor and ambassador, according to Ruby.

“MCF feels very fortunate to be able to count on Julie for her experience and inspiration for years to come,” he said.

Event information 

The 2024 Tri for a Cure will take place on Sunday, July 14, in South Portland; athletes also have the option of participating virtually between July 14 and 31. Find out more or make a donation here.

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